My Random and Absolutely Fabulous Stick Figure Philosophy

This year has presented some strange traditions and habits that now have my heart; here is how one of them has shaped my perspective about the smaller things in life.


Here are just a few iconic appearances of these dull led dollies in my math notebook.

Jasmin Parrado, Staff Writer

The headline might already pose immense concern over whether a Talon staff member has gone crazy, but as it turns out, I am doing just fine—perhaps, more than ever. Why, you wonder?

Well, besides the usual satisfaction of proper organization and inevitable deadlines being met these past few weeks, I have made myself all the merrier. I have implemented stick figure drawings into almost every aspect of my written work.

Now, before you ask how this peculiar addition to my everyday life has come about, allow me to explain. I fortunately get to sit beside my wonderful, giggly friend of four years, Morgan Miller, in AP Calculus for second period every day. We’ve had an unspoken thing going since freshman year, that being our tendency to laugh at the most miniscule details we spot. It can very well be the sudden silence that follows a generally conversational environment, or a funny facial expression made during lunchtime that we just cannot forget. Or maybe it’s Morgan accidentally dropping her pretzel sticks on the floor multiple times every day because of us laughing, which makes us laugh even more. The giggles are endless and the jokes are plentiful; and among them all is what started as another one of our laugh-worthy situations.

One day, during our second period calculus lecture on related rates (and embedded with secret inside joke opportunities for the two of us as usual), I felt the most random incentive to draw a stick figure on the corner of Morgan’s spiral notebook page to get her attention. Simple, hairless, and having abnormally long limbs, it certainly brought her to the snickering state as she added the rest of its features. Her addition of distressed Rapunzel-length hair gave the figure some charm, and I felt that it could not be left all by its lonesome—so I drew another. Giving it two singular bouncy curls and much, much longer limbs, I gave the stick figure some concerning company, and Morgan and I just laughed it off (as we usually do). Little did I know that those two stick figures would gradually become a part of my everyday writing routine.

For weeks and weeks, Morgan and I have kept the stick-figure buddies alive, drawing them over and over again on the corners of our homework pages, much to the point that we even got our classmate and now very good friend, Zach, to join in with his own dressed up figure. Not to mention, our teacher now claims that whenever he sees or utilizes stick figures in his problems for other classes, he immediately thinks of our own chaotically drawn buddies. I can’t blame him. We have even made comic strip depictions of our own real-life circumstances with our stick figures as the starring characters; take for instance the time that I fell forward and scraped both of my knees on the stairwell on the way to second period—you bet we made a strip of that. We even made a strip about the time that it looked as if our teacher was purposefully ignoring Morgan when she asked a question, when in fact, he was, in the nature of a teacher, directing his attention to his students in order and just happened to turn around swiftly in the moment like a Sims character.

Yes, these are very seemingly uninteresting scenarios sprawled across our sheets, but through the weeks of countless stick figure illustrations, I’ve developed a habit—a need, more so—to have at least one figure staring back at me on the notebook when I begin my assignments.

I admit, they’ve been there for me through times I’ve never really expected them to appear. Those endless hours of working to compensate for poor time management habits would leave me alone in my bedroom at odd hours of the night—until I opened up my assignment and spotted the small smile I had plastered on for about the millionth time earlier that day. There was just something about these stick figures that warmed me up and reassured me when I had seen them, and I had to wonder: why did I become so attached to these little things?

It had taken me a while since then to sit back and literally ponder my affections for our random tradition, but in the end, I’ve come to a conclusion—one that I feel actually applies to many aspects of our lives.

You see, Morgan and I have made the most out of some incredibly insignificant things that you could probably spot in a classroom or a person.  We’ve applied different perspectives and lighthearted approaches to all sorts of topics or material objects—erasers, teachers, cats, each other. In doing so, we’ve placed that much more emphasis on them—we’ve really created our own lively, 4-year strong understanding of the world around us that begs our constant reaction. We don’t dismiss detail; we welcome it, seeing what we can make of it for absolutely no reason. And that might seem like a diagnosis for some lunacy in effect, but I feel that there is more beyond the caricatures we’ve drawn and the jokes we’ve made that teach us about taking in every concept and perk of everything around us.

It is quite a simple philosophy: the perspective you apply will define the intrigue of the world around you. If Morgan and I had ignored and disregarded the very things we consider every day of our lives, we would miss the golden opportunity to create the most fundamental memories of our friendship. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to allow more positive and memorable moments into your life?

The truth is, you can truly only find those golden opportunities if you broaden the scope of the very objects and details that mark even your current vicinity at this very moment. What are they capable of making for you? What is the essence of the very thing you’re staring at right now? What does it mean to you?

Stick figures literally meant nothing to me at the beginning of the year. They were simply illustrations sprawled across textbook pages and desk surfaces to get the point across about concepts much larger than can could be fathomed in the human mind. But now, after associating the little figures with the endless jokes and lighthearted chaos shared with great people, I love drawing them; and I can’t help but to always think about our ventures in second period together.

Now, you try it. Take anything. Any small thing. Pick it up or stare at it. Think to yourself: what memory, value, or conversation can you possibly make out of this thing? What connotation will you give it?

Next time, ask not what perspective you do have, but what perspective you can have.

And so as German author Christian Morgenstern once said, “Everything is beautiful when you look at it with love.” Do try it; look at everything—and this time, everything.